A Shero Inspired Summer Peach Tart with an Almond Shortcrust Pastry

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These are the last of the local summer peaches for this year. Aren’t they just beautiful? Recently while out walking I spotted a peach tree in my neighborhood with limbs heavy with ripe peaches. The tree belongs to my neighbor, Nancy Hardaway, who has moved away and has her house for sale. I did not think she would mind if I helped myself to a few which you see here that were perfectly ripe and luscious with lots of juice. Thanks Nancy!

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This peach tart recipe with a shortcrust pastry is based on one I ran across while looking through some older cookbooks in my collection, Donna Hay’s “Modern Classics” Book 2 from 2003. She has for a long time been one of my culinary “Sheroes” & has always been way ahead of her time in her approach to modern cooking. She was doing things in 2003 in Australia that we had only begun to think about when it comes to cooking & food style. I made a few small tweaks but as with most of her recipes it was already close to perfect.

Do you have a favorite culinary Shero?

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Good quality butter cut into small pieces and frozen…plain & almond flour…pastry quickly made in a food processor….kneaded a bit before rolling…..

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…rolled out and fitted into a tart pan with a removable bottom….blind-baked (see this article for more explanation on this) using parchment & dried beans (or pie weights)…

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…a simple Greek yogurt-sugar-egg filling….topped with peach slices tossed in slightly sweetened beaten egg whites….

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…and baked until peaches & crust are golden brown. Missed peach season? Plums would be yummy as well.

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Summer Peach Tart with an Almond Shortcrust Pastry

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Print

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Ingredients for Pastry:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces & frozen
  • ice water to bring the pastry together

Ingredients for Tart:

  • 3/4 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar for egg white
  • 6 peaches, stones removed and sliced, drained & patted dry
  • 3 tablespoons raw sugar

Directions:

  1. In a food processor blend the almond flour, all-purpose flour, sugar & butter until it looks grainy.
  2. With motor running drizzle in ice water by tablespoons just until a smooth dough forms. Remove dough from processor and knead gently a few times, form into a flatten ball, wrap with plastic wrap and chill for a half hour.
  3. Roll chilled dough out on a floured surface, lay over the top of a tart pan with a removable bottom (9 or 10 inch), fit down into the pan using your fingers and cut off excess around the top edge.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the pastry and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake pastry shell for 10 minutes with weights, remove and bake another 10 minutes or until crust is a light golden brown.
  5. Whisk together the yogurt, brown sugar & egg. Pour into warm baked pastry shell & bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Turn oven up to 400 degrees.
  6. While filling is cooking whip egg white with 1 tablespoon sugar until soft peaks form. Add peach slices to the whites & toss gently until coated. Pile peach slices on top of the filling, sprinkle with raw sugar and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven to a rack to cool and sprinkle with additional crunchy raw sugar or powdered sugar if desired. You can double this recipe easily and make two tarts like I did!

Note: Recipe based on a Donna Hay recipe from her book “Modern Classics” Book 2, 2003 Harper Collins Publisher.

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Blood Orange Almond Sponge Cake / Baking with Baylor

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It is February at Food on Fifth so it is time for another Blood Orange recipe. In past years I have shared “Tiny Blood Orange Curd Meringue Tartlets to Celebrate Lunar Eclipses”, “Blood Oranges, Poundless Poundcakes & a Poem”, “Blood Orangecello & Bootlegging” and “Bloody Sweet Orange Tartlets” all using the crimson jewel of the citrus world, the Blood Orange.

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My grandson, Baylor, was hanging out at our house recently. I suggested we make a cake with the blood oranges piled on my kitchen counter. I had some almond flour and lots of eggs left over from a photo shoot so this is where we started. I zested 2 of the blood oranges, passing them to Baylor who juiced them. I showed him how to separate eggs…yolks from the whites and he was an instant pro. I have to say it is fun to have a “sous chef” around to help out! We talked a lot while we worked, about cooking and life, family and the future.

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The week before was my birthday week and these white roses, which were a gift, looked so beautiful against the dark background and the blood oranges. Baylor also acted as my photo assistant! He has been around studios and photo shoots his entire life so he pretty much knows what to do.

While the cake was baking I sliced 2 additional blood oranges, adding them to a skillet sprinkled generously with sugar set over medium low heat to candy. When ready I placed them on a cooling rack to drain.

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Here is the cake still warm from the oven with the candied blood orange slices added to the top.

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A bit of powdered sugar is always magical.

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A very moist almond cake with the aroma and flavor of blood oranges. Baylor got the first piece and a few other slices to take home. Truly a cake made with love! Really isn’t this what February 14th is all about?

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Blood Orange Sponge Cake topped with Candied Blood Orange Slices

  • Servings: 8-10
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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup of superfine sugar
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • zest of 2 blood oranges
  • juice of 2 blood oranges
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 additional blood oranges sliced for candying

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease & flour a 9 inch round springform pan.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together using a stand or hand mixer.
  3. Add egg yolk, blood orange zest & blood orange juice & mix well. Scrape down sides of pan when needed.
  4. In another bowl whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Add to the egg yolk mixture.
  5. Whisk together the almond & all-purpose flours & fold into the egg mixture.
  6. Scrape batter into the springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
  7. Turn oven down to 325 degrees & bake for another 35-40 minutes or until middle is set.
  8. Place cake in pan on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Remove pan sides.
  9. While cake is in the oven place the slices of 2 blood oranges in a flat bottom pan and sprinkle with 1/2 cup granulated sugar over medium low heat to candy the slices. When blood orange slices are candied place on a wire rack over a baking sheet to cool.
  10. Top cake with candied blood orange slices and any syrup left in the pan. Serve as is cut into slices. A sprinkling of powdered sugar is also very nice.

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A Seasonal, Southern Red Bartlett Pear-Almond Cake (with Grits & Molasses)

Red Bartlett Pears

Three beautifully deep red Bartlett Pears, a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour & a box of yellow grits, a bit of raw sugar & Muddy Pond sorghum molasses collided in my kitchen this afternoon. They did not start out intending to meet. They were all minding their own business sitting quietly on their shelves. It was really all the pears fault. They entered, sitting boldly on the counter, which is where I found them.  Perfectly ripe today, tomorrow they would not be so. The skins, soft and edible, melding with the flesh as I bit into one. They begged to become a cake, nothing fancy, just a simple rustic cake. I agreed.

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“A Seasonal Southern Red Bartlett Pear Almond Cake”

Here is what I used:

3 Red Bartlett pears, 1 cup raw sugar, 1 1/2 sticks softened butter, 2 TBSP sorghum molasses, 3 eggs, 2 tsp bourbon vanilla extract, 1 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal Flour, 1/2 cup yellow corn grits, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, homemade “Very Vanilla Bean Sugar” (or store-bought vanilla sugar)  & Powdered Sugar to garnish

Very Vanilla Bean Sugar

Here is how you make it:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9″ springform pan.

2. Mix together the almond meal, grits, baking soda & salt. Set aside.

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3. Cream sugar, butter & molasses together until fluffy. Beat in vanilla & eggs.  Turn mixer to low and add dry ingredients, mixing  just until well blended.

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4. Scrape batter into the prepared springform pan smoothing the top.

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5. Cut pears in half & remove cores from each. Cut each half into quarters. Place half of the pear quarters in a circle over the top of the cake batter.  Bake cake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and quickly add another layer of the pears on top of the partially baked cake. Return to oven and bake another 10 minutes or so. Remove cake from oven and while still hot sprinkle generously with “Very Vanilla Bean Sugar”. Sugar crystals will melt on top of the hot cake.

Pear Almond Cake

Pear Almond CakeA dense, very moist cake with lots of texture and flavor, almost like pear pudding in the middle. To gussy it up serve with a light dusting of powdered sugar.

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clean your plate please

“Oreo, Oreo, O-re-o”

“Happy 100th Birthday Sweet Little Oreo”  

I don’t know about you but this was an important food milestone in my world. Oreos have been a constant in my life. Many, many…too many to even count…things have come & gone & changed. On tearful evenings of regret, cold heartless winters, summers so hot I cursed the sun, when changes occurred in my life that tore my heart apart, whenever I needed just a little lonely comfort the sweet little Oreo has been there for me. When my girls were small we would joyfully eat little piles of Oreos in the only way there is to eat them….twisting them apart, eating the white filling, then the cookie. There are nights I remove a couple of Oreos from the package quietly & stand looking out the kitchen window into the dark savoring every comforting bite. When this sweet little comfort cookie turned 100 this week, for me, it was something to celebrate.

“A Simple Chocolate Tart with an Oreo-Almond Crust”

Ingredients for Crust : (this recipe is for 2 crusts, freeze one for later)

12 Oreo Cookies

1 lb Almond Meal (very finely ground almonds)

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

8 ozs. good butter, cold, cut into pieces

Ingredients for Filling:

8 ozs. good quality  semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup whole milk mixed with 3/4 cup heavy cream

1 egg, lightly beaten

How to make the crust:

1. Process 12 Oreos in a food processor until finely crushed. Add in almond meal & sugar. Process until well blended. Add pieces of butter to processor. Pulse until well mixed. Drizzle in a bit of cold water if needed until a dough forms.

 

2. Remove dough from processor bowl. Form mixture into two equal size dough balls. Flatten each slightly, wrap in plastic wrap. Put one in the freezer for later use & the other in the refrigerator to chill for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to 325 degrees.

 3. When dough is chilled using fingers press into bottom  & up side of a springform pan about 1 inch high all around. Dough will be thick, but this is how it is supposed to be. Butter one side of a sheet of foil & fit butter side down into uncooked crust. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake crust for 15 minutes. Remove foil with weights. Bake another 10 minutes. Remove baked crust from oven.

How to Make Chocolate Filling (which can be made while crust is baking):

1. Chop 8 ounces of semisweet chocolate into small pieces. Place in a mixing bowl.

2.   Heat milk-cream mixture over medium high heat just until it starts to bubble around edges. Pour over chopped chocolate in the bowl. Let sit for a few minutes  & then whisk together well until all pieces of chocolate are totally melted. Let chocolate mixture cool for about 10-12 minutes. Whisking vigorously add beaten egg to chocolate mixture until well blended. Pour into baked Oreo-Almond pie crust.

3. Bake tart for 25 minutes at 325 degrees. Edges will be set, but center will still be jiggly. Remove from oven to cool for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour on a wire rack. This tart is delicious eaten still warm with the center somewhat pudding-like. The soft filling is a perfect foil for the somewhat crisp Oreo-Almond crust.

Serving Suggestion:  

A dusting of powdered sugar.

Our very special, long-time friends, John and Liz Shenk, invited us for a quiet Saturday evening dinner at their house. In so many ways when we get together it is a celebration. A celebration of good food, wine, conversation, stories, and long-time friendship. This “Happy 100th Birthday Sweet Little Oreo” Tart was just part of a special evening.

A Little Gallery of Liz’s Pretty Dinner Table:

Beautiful flowers and glowing light.
Papparadelle, Shrimp cooked in coconut milk…a salad of mango, blood oranges & spinach.   
There are always a few good apps before dinner.

Oreo, Oreo, O-re-o.

How do you eat Oreos? Do you have another method?

Have you ever used Oreos as an ingredient? How would you use them?